Are we not entitled as American citizens to expect U.S. based social web empires like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc., to let us determine for ourselves what is factual and what is not as we consume content over the web? Conversely, are American content providers and private citizens on social media not entitled to free speech and free press on these platforms?
These two questions are tightly coupled so I've dared to ask them together in one post.
I can certainly agree that allowing video on YouTube displaying a man's execution is very distasteful and inappropriate for public audiences, and that dangerous bomb-making instructions ought not be generally disseminated over public venues like Wikipedia.
But simple differences of opinion in regards to government and public policy are frequently being censored lately right in front of our eyes over these channels. It could be a potential conspiracy theory for all I care! Is it constitutional for Silicon Valley's own Facebook to censor a post and chalk it up to "independent fact-checking"? What I see happening here instead is that this social channel is actively crushing dissent.
Here's a sample of censored video journalism someone posted recently on Facebook (whose content I don't wish to promote, so I've blurred it). Just as I came to watch it, the video stream was shut off on account that it was supposedly, "Partly False". Today, you try to visit the link and it won't even appear. There was nothing violent in it, and nothing explicitly sexual. It was simply an interview with a controversial figure about a controversial subject. Yet this was censored:
Is all this social media censorship a violation of our constitutional rights or not?